#CapeVentures

I can be witty.
I can be as calm as a cucumber but I can never be peaceful on the inside and that is what writing helps me with – being peaceful. It is an outlet for all the emotions crammed in my 15-inch heart. Growing up I would keep things stored inside of me because I feared that once I shared them with others I may never get them back, but little did I know that was actually the whole point. Who wants to harbour negative stories anyway, so let me tell you this one first…

When I was about 21 I “temporarily” moved into a shared house in Woodstock, Cape Town.

There were about four rooms, one kitchen, a matchbox-sized sitting room area and two bathrooms.

I retrospect I think I may have overstayed my welcome time there primarily due to those bathrooms. The shower heads were like the Victoria Falls, even though I was surrounded by filth they always did a good job cleaning a girl up. Some days I would sit under the running water with my kinky hair tied into Bantu knots and let the tears flow down into the drain hole. The house was old, had some fuzzy historic background and the management was very, very strange. I recall the owner’s granddaughter so vividly. She had so many problems that compared to her I came off as a saint. She did not like her raven black curly hair so in the night she would spend at least two hours straightening it and the smell of singed hair would fill the whole room like flood. I could never understand it.

How come she did not enjoy washing her hair like I did?

Anyway, as I was saying, the room had about 6 bunk beds, all unstable so when one person tossed and turned one two many times, we all moved with her. The glossy floorboards were broken so whatever you dropped you could count as swallowed up by the earth. I remember this one day I only had R6 for taxi fare and one coin fell into those holes, I ended up not going to college. I was so bleak.

The windows croaked on windy nights which was almost every night because the house was stationed on top of a hill overlooking the seaside. Each morning I would undo the plastic strips used to tie the hinges together, let the cool breeze in and watch ship making their way to the dock longing to hear the fisherman’s stories about being at sea.

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My late father spent his early 30s in Woodstock, Cape Town so you can imagine my near elated feeling when I was overlooking the dock. I could see what he saw and possibly enjoy the sounds that once travelled through his ears. I always liked that thought.

I stayed in that house for about 2 years learning people and their behaviour trying to find one that matched my own. It is quite bizarre now that I think about it – searching for your own identity amid the most broken. I could never imagine myself as broken so I thought I wanted to make a change within those people but little did I know I was piercing myself with their double-edged stories. No wonder I hate suspense movies.

Having lived in many other spaces, with fewer people, I realized a few things about personal space.

In most areas, you find that there is no such thing as personal space, a good example is shacks.  I hate shacks. In a shack an average of 5 people could be residing in that space and it’s all good until you realize it isn’t. It is not okay to live without proper sanitation, to live in fear due to crime within the depths of poverty. Even though my words lack a lot, I always hoped to share my experiences to others, in turn rid my heart of things I never want to see again like that house.

Okay, that’s one story down.
Next time I will tell you about the time I slept on the street.

Living on a memory

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Death took you as a hostage and I have longed for you ever since. Could we ever find you in the sea of souls coming down from heaven?

Will you look younger than I remember, or will your brittle beard remain like thatched straw on your face? It used to sting my small face but I still came looking for your embrace.

 

What about the two  loose teeth– surely twenty years was enough time to fix them up.

Oh, where can I wait for you?

I am thinking of leaving the city to find where I buried the rest of our memories just to have a clearer memory of you. I saw some scattered in our backyard where you used to sit next to an ice-cold Coke and another in the pockets of my soul.

I have sought out so many different man to replace you but nothing could ever fill this cracked heart. Had I known sooner I would have just held it tight and waited by myself rather that giving it away, now it even has slight cracks in its foundation. I doubt will even recognize it so everyday I try to mend it but how can I fix what is within.

I see that God filled it in with gold. I see my faultiness led me to be valuable.

I gather that in Him mending me, He also took the pleasure of putting a new purpose in my heart. I don’t know how and I don’t know why but here we are, together, for eternity.

Saving Private Noli

A friend, no actually more than that I think a sister. I have three sisters, all older than me but I still want a sister. Someone who will understand my love for food and hope for a better world — someone who can listen. I think that’s what I’d like the most
because to be honest I am quite lonely.

This loneliness is not the one that leads one down the alley into the arms of half-drunk stranger with a hairy chest. Its the still silence in my heart that ideally would like to bust out into laughter but not alone.

I had a friend once, she chased sunsets all the way to the edge of the world and started a brand new chapter without me in it and I can’t really say she left me.
Sometimes I feel as though its a deep cut to the heart that just wont heal, but most days I know I give the thought too much credit.Creator God must have made it like this
for a reason.

I have pondered and wondered about what went wrong. It was probably something I said
or did. I remember sitting on a bench and attempting to map out our lives together, talking till the wee hours of the night about things that have come to reality now. I try to trace back where we lost each other but I know its most likely that you lost me first cs I never was there, hey.

I was always knee-deep in my thoughts, judging and trying to figure out things that are still a mystery to this day. Fighting thoughts, fighting myself. Crying out for some kind of exit spell that would help me to become a “normal child”. How could I when I had so much pain buried within me? I tried to change myself to become upright. I covered up my anxieties with nude lip-color and thick mascara, wondering am I really beautiful? When I look at my reflection I see sparkles of light and shimmering sunsets that you chased how come you left me behind?

It is strange this turmoil in my heart. I try to fight it, but I wind up in a taxi heading southward chasing a figment of my imagination that I created when I was nine years old. The sister that held my hand when I wanted to runaway from home and begged me to stay. The girl who who whispers in my ear everyday, without fail “Noli, its really OK to fail.”

That friend I see today in the people beside me, the one’s that left the crowd with me and strives to created a better tomorrow for other girls cs I mean what is the point of gaining all the sunsets if you lose yourself — if you lose your hope?

Now to make new friends with myself first. I want to look in the mirror, see the twinkle in my eyes and say: “I am really glad you exist, I am really glad I get to do life with you.”

 

I almost wrote your name all over town

My thoughts, my heart and my mind are completely saturated with images of you and the warmth you exude. Your immeasurable kindness and thoughtfulness have captured an unassuming heart to the point of frustration. I want to stop time and go back to you, only to you. So I chastise my thoughts and force myself to remember the game plan: Go in and out. Take no prisoners.

Little did I know I would be held captive by a land consumed by drought as you quenched my longing of wanting to belong. With your ever blue skies, black cattle that seem to do as they please on the roads and beautiful white teeth that never stay hidden, without even a second glance you embraced this ever wandering heart.

Botswana, I love your people.

I love the way they are quick to embrace and ask questions later. Where I’m from it’s more common to stab first, then ask questions later. That is home. A broken place that is full of everything but peace and acceptance.

We are bruised and broken and suspicious people wanting to maintain the façade we have created but, little do we know, everyone can see right through us. Our pride is the stumbling block that leads us to open graves that lie right before us, that could be avoided had we just asked our big brother countries for help.

The sole hope is the youth, the pride of the continent.

One of my favorite hobbies is traveling. Seeing new people, eating new dishes, just learning about stuff. On my recent trip to Botswana, the nation of peace, this was my experience. Yes, they have their flaws, for instance if you are bad they hang you opposite the Mugg and Bean, other then that it really is an amazing nation. The economy is good and they seem to have it all; but like they say, the grass always looks greener on the other side.

I sat in one of their cafes and listened to a lady as she narrated horror stories about the increase of gender-based violence in the country. To be honest, I haven’t been as unsettled as I was that afternoon. As someone who champions the woman power, I felt powerless.

There goes the dream of an Africa at peace with itself.

There goes my own dream of raising children in a safe community.

I think it was in that moment that I realized the power of unity. There are so many organizations in Botswana that are working towards protecting women but they work in silos, which I found extremely odd seeing that the population of Gaberone, the capital city, is only 232,000.

Why can’t they all fall within the same bracket and work together to make a visible change?

There are so many organizations out there  that have the same mandate, it’s like a worldwide phenomenon. I always feel like we can do so much and go even further when we are working toward the same thing. Through dialogue, the Three Chiefs of Botswana led the nation to independence 50 years ago. My mother was 16 at the time, walking around the rural areas of Eastern Cape gathering dry wood to make a fire for some reason. Also, at that time, my mom said we had kings, lots and lots of fattened cattle and were part of the most revered Nguni tribes that exist in Southern Africa.

When I think about it, it gives me a sense of pride; but it also saddens me because I do not know much about the history of many things African. I remember in Cape Town there would always be that random traditional dance crew performing half naked on the side of the road on a Saturday afternoon. I would find myself thinking,”Noli, why are you standing there clapping for these kids like you are a tourist?”

I guess this is something the current President of Bots wants to avoid. This year’s Presidents Day Celebration, held on July 22, 2016, focused on national identity through awarding the best arts and crafts that showcased the nation’s history. I think it’s safe to say I am in love?

Well anyway, now that I am a tourist and have fallen madly in love with the land of the Pula, I only hope my beautiful Africa may be healed from all these wars that tried to take our stuff away. We are a really beautiful people.

 

Covering my ears like a kid

When your birthday came I did not call. I was not planning to, either.

As the cold days are quickly approaching and my fingers are starting to resemble scrawny sticks, I keep my hair long because you said like it short — a sign for the universe to keep your old self away from the new me.

Some days I think it is just difficult to get used to the person you are becoming so you fall back into your old habits and trick yourself into believing the  most random things but you know what? I rate I have listened to enough Taylor Swift to be emotionally unstable and it’s Winter where one in five Whatsapp messages is from an ex that you are struggling to remember so you talk to them for a little bit to jog your memory. Half way through memory lane you remember how much you did not like how small their eyes were — like small 5c coins.  I do not have many exes so I am doing just fine and also the ones that are still alive have children.Interesting fact: majority of the guys I dated once upon a time met the love of their live after we broke up and had a kid. If I were a boy, this would be highly suspicious…

Having swallowed my pride a few times over, I have risked eternity with nothing but a book and an imaginary dog called Lola. One thing I struggle with though is showing love, I think at often times. One person I met said to me that I have commitment issues. Apparently I am so amazing that I too should b wed but you know people outside are really not that amazing that you must lay down your life to be with them forever. Whenever I consider this option I always think of a conversation I had a few years ago with a bestie of mine… We sat at that crusty park and described people that could only exist in imaginary tales alongside Daffy Duck and Cinderella. You know how life makes you a realistic person.

But to be honest I feel uneasy when someone holds on to my hand for longer than a minute. The worst if when someone confides in me waiting for me to give wisdom and advise when I am drowning in my own heart full of worry about how I could be trolling Blake Lively’s IG account.  Generally I think one of the hardest things I’d ever done is open my heart to people, something I think our Creator loves to make me want to do.

“OK, you are in my heart now sit!”

But now you can’t really control what a person does when they are in the heart. Depending on who lives in the house we can see the condition of the house. If a crazy person goes in there the house will be in a state of brokenness all the time but if a king goes in there… I think you get the idea.

But you know what I have come to realize? God who knows every inch of my crocked heart, is absolutely brilliant job at helping me better person.

I just am not a morning person, yet so I gather I am not ready to share my life with anyone haha.

Sigh.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Late Reflections

Something broke when I was younger and it shattered everything that was holding my core together…

Gradually everything that I thought I knew for sure spiraled out from my grasp leaving me clasping at leaping straws for about 20 odd years. Leaping straws that I then chased all over the country but seemed to just slip through my fingers time and time again.

“What is it that was broken, what is that I lost?”

Questions whose answers seem to be buried within the rubble that I liked to call nothing . I have searched my soul countless times, shut my eyes real tight and wished for the grey cloud to be lifted but nothing. Nothing would never leave me be so I fueled the gaps with foreign substances , nestled my being in the arms of a thoughtless men because his shoulders were ‘broader than mine so I thought you could help carry my cross.’

I cried,  read just to spend countless hours out of my own head.I tried, I lied my way into people’s houses as I dreaded being on my own and  I overstayed my welcome, then when that failed I surrounded myself with literature. I stumbled upon Sylvia Platt and liked how she embraced her disposition. Someone asked me, “Why do you always look so sad? You look like to act like a gangster but when you laugh rainbows and butterflies pop up as you giggle.”

All I know is something broke when I was younger and I’ve been trying to mend it all my life

But then came a time to entrust this heart into a potter’s hands and it was hard. It was as if I had gone past the point of being molded into a beautiful jar of clay but now a fault had been found within me and had to restart the process. Everyday a new challenge was raised and in every one of those days I got to chose between living in that moment and skip the patience and endurance part or stick it out till the end.

In order to fix what was broken – God and I had to start from scratch. Not from where my late father had left off or even from where I had started harboring bitter grief , feelings of self-loathing where I would compare myself to other people. We started where it hurt which was the heart of a fatherless daughter who had now found solace in broken men and was now caught up in trying to fix them with her own lacking idea of love and comfort. And these “men” would never stay not even for a cuddle. I would lie within the belly of my now empty and cold bed, clasp my A-cup breasts within my hands look down on them and think, “Will these ever be enough?” as it seemed like they never were …

Sometimes we think that God is the ultimate fixer of our problems but actually we must fix ourselves first. Developing habits like allowing yourself to enjoy your own company, remembering your favorite things like the smell of old furniture and licking spoons while someone else is baking. Its difficult to trust someone who says they love you when you can’t really work up the strength never mind the desire to love your own self. They say trust is hard to earn after it being broken but the journey is worth the travel.

Learning to trust myself again has been one journey that I will be on for as long as I live especially after realizing that was the thing that was broken.

To the little light.

images (2)It was not difficult to forget. I promise.

You are beautiful, you always have been. Sometimes I think your ears have heard many things that they were not meant to yet. I should have covered them but my head was filled with so much pride that I could not see what was right before me. A young girl who wanted to see the world, who still wanted to build courage and a zest for life that could never be put to death even by the doubt I brought, the bearer of bad news. I saw your seated by yourself counting down to my entry back into your life only I am still not to ready to carry your dreams on my feeble shoulders. I will take off the old and make space for you.

Let me fix myself.

You wait by the stairs, I am right by the door. I’m still yours.

It was not hard to forget your little dimples, I tucked it under my eyelids. I remember all your dreams and stories, I know your hope and fears.I hid them deep within me. I still remember you. We don’t talk anymore but I know you are still there waiting. The weight on my shoulders reminds me of carefully carrying you on my shoulders like a prized possession when you were three. Hearing you laugh and getting dizzy.We will be in sync again and you wont even need to say two words. I will just know everything again. I promise to win back all the days we lost.

Little one, these tracks are leading me back to were we used to belong and you will find me waiting for you.

Like I always did.